I’m not sure how far down the empathy ladder one has to be to make an observation like this, but the following commentary in reference to a Las Vegas Sun article about the paucity of funding for children’s rehab services has to be below rung one:
“We note that for literally decades parents have figured out that getting their child labelled special needs means they get all sorts of extra attention and extra funding–tutors and assistant in grade school even. What kid wouldn’t benefit from one-on-one constant academic attention? So we must limit services to the most effective such as those children who can be “educated” into functional, into the main stream and find a way to end reliance on additional services.”
Where to begin? Yes, it must be every parent’s dream to be given the ‘wonderfully’ depressing news that their child has autism, is developmentally delayed, has Down Syndrome, is physically disabled, has severe hearing problems, is visually impaired, and all just so the youngster will be eligible for Special Education services?? Imagine, all those conniving parents out there who are NOT wishing that their offspring will play catch in the back yard, dress and bath themselves independently, learn their ABC’s before kindergarten, shine on the soccer field, be the first to answer the arithmetic question correctly, and have their little essays displayed prominently on the classroom bulletin board? And, the children in the Special Education Classroom? Well some significant albeit imaginary percentage of them are there because their conniving parents want special treatment At Taxpayer Expense for the little scholars.
It seems that some of the conniving parents in Nevada didn’t get the message because as of 2009 there are 421,356 youngsters enrolled in general education classes and only 48,118 enrolled in special education classes statewide. [Ch10 Ed pdf] And, take a look at the enrollment trends in Nevada special education classes:
If we made a home-made chart of the percentage increase in special education enrollment in Nevada since 1991, it would look like the number of conniving parents is definitely declining:
The second part of the ill-informed comment makes even less sense.
“So we must limit services to the most effective such as those children who can be “educated” into functional, into the main stream and find a way to end reliance on additional services.”
At the peril of misinterpreting the almost incomprehensible, let’s guess that the commenter is suggesting that the school districts not provide services to the most profoundly disabled students, perhaps those whose medical conditions are such that they will likely not be able to function independently as adults. But, but… These are the least likely to be the progeny of conniving parents who want their minimally disabled children to “take advantage” of special education classrooms.
So, how do we “end reliance on additional services” by kicking kids out of special education programs? Just send the kids home? That’s cold. It’s tantamount to telling parents — “Well, it’s just your bad luck you have a disabled child because we as a community have no obligation to provide any assistance. Not only do we have no obligation — we’re not even going to try?”
In the mean time, back in the real world –
“To serve all the newborns to 3-year-olds waiting for services from the state, Nevada Early Intervention Services would need from $7 million to $8.3 million next year, according to an estimate prepared by the state’s Health Division. But that money likely won’t come until next year at the earliest.” [LVSun]
We can do better.